S’gor urged to reconsider hefty licence renewal fee, tax

As entertainment outlets are among those ordered not to resume operations until further notice, business operators feel burdened by the large sum of money required to renew their licence. — Filepic

THE RM8,305 licence fee and tax imposed on entertainment outlets for 2021 should be reviewed as the live music industry has yet to return to normalcy, says Selangor MCA state liaison committee chairman Datuk Ng Chok Sin.

Entertainment outlet owners are frustrated that they are being asked to fork out such a hefty sum to renew their licence with Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) when they are still not allowed to operate.

“With Selangor being one of the states hardest hit by Covid-19, nearly all sectors have been heavily affected, while those in the entertainment industry who rely entirely on patrons feel the brunt of the socio-economic downturn, ” said Ng.He noted that since the implementation of the movement control order eight months ago, some entertainment outlet operators had zero income and struggled to come up with money for rent, staff’s wages and miscellaneous expenditure.When the government announced the recovery MCO on June 10, nightclubs, bars and pubs were among those ordered not to resume operations until further notice.

It was reported that MBPJ had asked entertainment outlet owners to fork out RM4,705 to renew their licence and an additional RM3,600 for related taxes.

The MCO has also adversely affected a large majority of musicians and entertainers who make their living at these premises.

In July, StarMetro reported that nearly 20% of Kuala Lumpur’s nightclubs had shut down because of a lack of business since the MCO came into effect.

While some have been lobbying to reopen their outlets to ease the burden of being saddled with debts and expenses, in addition to laying off their employees, others have also asked for support in other ways, such as repurposing their business space as an interim measure to stay afloat.

“In times like these, slapping them with a hefty bill is the last thing the state government should be doing, ” said Ng.

He urged MBPJ and the state government to reconsider their decision and instead, exempt the entertainment industry from licensing fees and entertainment taxes in 2021.

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